NASCAR Sprint Cup six-time and reigning champion Jimmie Johnson and his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team were honored by President Barack Obama at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.
During Johnson’s visit to the White House, President Obama awarded Jimmie Johnson with the 2013 Sprint Cup in a ceremony in the East Room. He also compared Johnson to NBA legend Michael Jordan.
“Usually when we do these sports events I make some crack about how the football team isn’t as good as the ’85 Bears, or the basketball team isn’t as good as the Bulls,” Obama said. “But to that I can’t really say anything because Jimmie Johnson is pretty much the Michael Jordan of NASCAR.”
Obama also likened the relationship between Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus, also in attendance, to that of an “old married couple.”
As a six-time Sprint Cup champion, Johnson has made several trips to the White House. As a matter-of-fact, Obama is the second U.S. President to honor the driver. Johnson first visited the White House by invitation of then-President George W. Busch in 2003. Because of Johnson’s frequent visits, Obama also joked about Johnson’s car being a permanent fixture at the White House.
“Just don’t take my parking spot,” Obama said. “And no donuts in the portico.”
Johnson’s 2013 season saw the driver claim his sixth Sprint Cup, all coming in a span of eight years. He was second to Matt Kenseth in race wins, winning six races to Kenseth’s seven. In the championship standings, though, it was Kenseth who finished second to Johnson. Also in 2013, Johnson posted 16 top-fives sand 24 top-10s in the 36 points-paying races that made up the season.